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Friday Props #20

  Twenty! Hitting a milestone of props this week!

Ed and I got to talking last week amid the autumn breezes, throwing our brains out in an informal storming session when the topic turned to the potential for a world take-over by robots. On the one hand, there is plenty of fodder, past and present, to fuel these nightmares (fantasies) including tales from I, Robot by Ray Bradbury to the Terminator and Matrix movie trilogies. The missing element from these stories is the background, the precursory stories leading up to the desperate state of humanity envisioned in these futures. Regardless of what the future holds for the human race, the future is here. The problem is, it sounds like a very large, annoying mosquito. And while these swarm bots have the right idea, there is no WAY that a small child is going to sit still this long.

 

  

Robots from Above!   Settling back into the natural world, a couple of coders developed a new tool to track surface currents on the Great Lakes, our inland seas. Although there are no tide on the lakes, the surface of the water is constantly on the move, cover 94,250 square mile, and hold 21% of the WORLD'S fresh water. Wow. The research team led by Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, initially developed a wind map as part of a Google project. "But researchers at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Michigan saw the stunning wind map and figured it could be applied to surface currents of the Great Lakes, which are largely driven by wind. They were right. And, luckily for them, Viégas and Wattenberg agreed to share their code." Beware: watching this map may put you in a relaxed, hypnotic state.  

Real-Time Surface Currents of the Great Lakes   Finally, for our last portion of Friday Props, take that wind we wrote about, add a heaping spoonful of British humor and a silly walk. Mix them all together and join us in giving props to Monty Python's Flying Circus. Back in the heady disco days , BBC aired the first of 45 episodes on October 5th, 1969. The cultural impact of the comedy troupe's is immeasurable as the members struck out on their own and developed legendary films known to billions. Absolutely. Take a moment, clap together to empty 'aves of coconut and whistle a bit. Monty Python lives.